Whitecap Glyphs Language in Creus | World Anvil
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Whitecap Glyphs

All of the seats in the third great lecture hall had been removed for the exhibition, and Rigana found it strange to return to the same building where she had taken two courses in Hermetics. Instead of drawings of old alchemical flow diagrams on the chalkslates at the front of the hall, instead there were vertical imprints of Whitecap Glyphs all over the room, plastered from floor to ceiling, arrayed on moving signboards, with even more prints stacked up on a desk for distribution. There were still students hauling on more stacks fresh from the presses, and Rigana caught one by the shoulder.   "This looks more like some sort of bizarre fever dream than an exhibition. What's the intention?" Rigana gave the girl a friendly smile. "Or, do you know who I should talk to?"   "That would be me." Rigana turned and instinctively tilted her head downward. It was over ten years since Professor Lucea had stood in front of her to give a lecture on advanced ancient linguistics, but old instincts died hard. She was older and shorter than she had been. "Archmagus Rigana. A pleasure to see you returned to the Academy."   "Professor." Rigana gave a nod. "I had heard you were giving your first exhibition in over a decade. I would be remiss to have missed it. I would confess that I'm not entirely sure of the theme, however."   Professor Lucea said nothing at first, but strode over to the desk and picked up two of the prints. She returned, holding the prints side by side. The lines of the glyphs flowed into each other, but Rigana cocked her head.   "Nothing?" The Professor reversed the order of the prints. The stacked glyphs seemed completely different. Rigana shook her head, before noticing something strange. The second ordering of glyphs, when combined, seemed to create an entirely new second layer of glyphs down the middle.    "Ah, you see it." The Professor waved at the lecture hall. "This is not only an exhibition of the known Whitecap Glyphs, this is a testament to Etoilean progress and citizen research. Ordinary Etoileans will be able to help conduct critical research into glyph patterning."   Rigana put a finger on her forehead. "You mean you're getting random people to help your students catalog the glyph permutations."    "Precisely. You were always a fast student, Rigana." The Professor gave her a smile that didn't come close to her eyes, the sort of smile of a predatory animal. 

Writing System

Researchers of The Academy of Etoile have identified sixty-four unique square glyphs present in recovered stonework rubbings and etchings, though with the shape and pattern of the lines and dots, there are theoretically over five hundred possible glyphs conforming to the patterns.

Geographical Distribution

As can be inferred from their name, Whitecap Glyphs have only been found deep in The Whitecaps, a frozen mountain range deep in East Saibh, towards the southern ice cap. The first few adventurers to discover these glyphs found them in a deep cave while seeking shelter from a blizzard, and one of them recognized the markings as too regular to be naturally etched.    Etchings taken from the glyphs caught the interest of journals in the Etoile Capital City, as a potential link to the Origin question. Several private and public expeditions were launched deep into the Whitecaps to search for and recover additional etchings, but many of these expeditions were lost; the Whitecaps are profoundly dangerous for even experienced survivalists. While the glyphs recovered from caves and rock formations were of interest to linguists, there was no significant advancement interesting enough to sell journal copies on street corners, and the public gradually lost interest.


Whitecap glyphs are composed of vertical, regularly spaced constructions of intersected straight lines and dots. Though each glyph is square, a line drawn for one glyph will continue into that of the next if the neighbor glyphs use the stroke. Sentences must be carefully parsed, as an unwary researcher may lose their place in the glyph ordering and begin misreading characters.


The Whitecap glyphs have an exceedingly simple sentence structure, with all sentences being composed of precisely three glyph-sequence words. All sentences are structured as 'subject-verb-object', and complex thoughts are composed from a multitude of such statements. In translation, as an example:   A marries B Ocean kills B Mind kills A   roughly translates to 'After B drowned in the ocean, A died of despair.'


A rudimentary vocabulary of the Whitecap Glyphs was established when a stone slate was recovered establishing the meanings of a number of glyph-sequence words, by associating them with imagery of the referenced object. Through detailed study and contextual clues of other slates, a limited dictionary of roughly a hundred words has been established by Etoilean linguists, from the five root words definitively known: Snow, Death, Fire, Person, and Food.


Linguists of the Academy have argued about the theoretical pronunciation of the Whitecap Glyphs for some time, but no cross-referencing between the glyphs and any known Etoilean language exists, rendering any hypothesized pronunciation no more than speculation.    A new school of thought, based on a paper written by Academician Vyse in 721 (and used to earn said title), claims that the language had no spoken component at all. Vyse points out that no extant spoken language is of this same repetitious form, as reading out the Etoilean equivalent statements is a surefire way to put a listener to sleep. Vyse postulates that the language only exists in the written form to be read, which would be a completely unique language origin - the standard schools of thought state that all languages are derived from the spoken, with the written word merely being a reflection of the 'true language' that people speak.


As far as is understood, the only tense present in the Whitecap glyphs is that of the present. Events are placed in their chronology through only sentence ordering, which makes direct Etoilean translations of the sentences quite difficult to follow.

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